This week has seen a number of shocking new allegations about Activision Blizzard's workplace culture. They include an historical incident where Bobby Kotick told an assistant he'd have her killed, allegations that senior employees facing harassment allegations got preferential treatment, and that Blizzard co-head Jen Oneal (who is leaving at the end of the year) is paid less than her male counterpart Mike Ybarra. This all comes amidst multiple legal battles for the publisher involving workplace harassment.
President and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment Jim Ryan has clearly been watching with some distaste, and an internal email circulated to Sony employees has found its way into Bloomberg's hands. The email links to the Wall Street Journal report that broke these new claims before saying that Ryan and PlayStation's senior leadership are "disheartened and frankly stunned" Actvision Blizzard "has not done enough to address a deep-seated culture of discrimination and harassment."
"We outreached to Activision immediately after the article was published to express our deep concern and to ask how they plan to address the claims made in the article. We do not believe their statements of response properly address the situation."
Ryan went on to say that Sony Interactive Entertainment "is committed to ensuring our community of developers and gamers feel safe and respected, and providing a secure work environment for every employee."
Since this week's allegations came to light, pressure has been mounting on Activision CEO Bobby Kotick to resign. A small group of shareholders called for his resignation on Wednesday, while some Activision employees staged a walkout protest. As arguably the key figure in Activision's rise, Kotick will not be easily dislodged. But the pressure is mounting, and may become impossible to resist.